Apple started the 2017 World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) with a splash focusing on major upgrades to many of its core products and operating systems.
Since there were so many interesting features and updates, I will be breaking it down by timeframe when these upgrades will be available to the public.
iMac 21.5" and 27" have been updated with the Kaby Lake processors, the 7th generation in business class CPUs. Starting with the 4K 21.5" models, the iMacs will have at least 1TB Fusion storage. Fusion drives are a hybrid that combines normal hard disk drive with flash storage. The fusion drive automatically manages the content so the most frequently accessed files are stored on the faster flash storage. One great addition to accessories and choices when customizing your iMac that wasn't mentioned at the Keynote is the Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad. In addition, more powerful graphics cards with embedded Video RAM, higher allocation of Memory (up to 64 GB for 27") and USB-C integration pushes these iMacs into a more powerful class of desktops. Apple is still continuing to such powerful desktops affordable by reducing the the cost of the 1st tiered 21.5" 4k model to $1299.
The MacBook's have similar upgrades to the processors, graphics cards, memory and storage. The 2015 model MacBook Pro has been retired. There are now 2 models of the 13" size that come without the Touch Bar and Touch ID and 2 models include the Touch Bar and Touch ID. Pricing has been dropped to $1299 for the 1st tiered model for the 13" MacBook Pro model.
An exciting new device is the iPad Pro 10.5." It comes with a screen nearly 20 percent larger than the 9.7-inch model. Capacity has been increased starting with 64 GB and going all the way up to 512 GB. Also the processor has been upgraded to A10 with the newer 12 MP cameras for both 10.5" and 12.9" models. Both models get new colors for smart covers in the regular material and leather. Also some beautiful leather sleeves that can hold the Apple Pencil are available.
Available in the fall:
tvOS was briefly discussed in the beginning of the keynote to discuss the partnering of Amazon Prime Video.
The newest iOS for iPhone and iPad - iOS 11 - is a big step in core features and refinement. Some of the updates for the iPad include new customizable Dock, a files app to store docs locally or in many different cloud services, and drag and drop features. Other new updates include peer to peer Apple Pay, Do Not Disturb Driving Mode, a more natural voiced Siri with better learning programing to offer better suggestions and a complete revamp to the App Store. One of the more mind blowing announcements was the introduction of ARKit SDK. A set of tools or "kit" to help developers build AR (augmented reality) apps and games to the iPhone and iPad. The demo by Wingnut AR shows the incredible possibilities for education, research and business for such a tool (Check out the video below!)
macOS Higher Sierra will be the newest operating system for desktops and laptops. Many of the upgrades and features to macOS Higher Sierra will go unnoticed for most avid Apple customers, but the updates are key in staying ahead of the new faster hardware. The new macOS will have an advanced 64-bit architecture for today's flash storage technology. It will also be more responsive, have better security features and also include HEVC video coding to support more efficient use of 4K video.
The last of the software upgrades is watchOS 4. Apple again continues its refinement with this latest watchOS. Apple fans will continue to have more customizable options like the Siri watch face and assistant for more intuitive reminders and advancements to the Activity, Workout App and Music App.
Available in December:
Apple's newest edition to its family is HomePod. A Siri enabled speaker system that allows someone to control their music collection and become a general voice activated personal assistant. With Homekit platform, HomePod can help control many aspects of a room or home such as temperature control, window shades and security systems.
The last is the titan of all the announcements yesterday - the iMac Pro. Set in a sleek uniform body as the updated iMacs, the new iMac Pro has the distinctive color of Space Gray to set it up apart from it's siblings. And that is the only similarity. The iMac Pro can be configured to 8-, 10, or 18-core Xeon processors. With the introduction of the new graphics card - the Radeon Pro Vega, the iMac Pro is set itself to be on top of a mountain of powerful desktop computers that haven't been created yet in such a uniform body. Add up to 128 GB of memory and 4 TB of SSD Flash storage the upgrades alone are remarkable to consider in such a small form factor. With 4 thunderbolt 3 (usb-c) ports and true 5k display, the iMac Pro is a super powerful desktop for many types of professionals, not just those in the gaming or film industry.
The 2017 WWDC Keynote was an intense showcase of many expectations. Apple pushes the boundaries of design and refinement that many now are beginning to appreciate. You easily get many of what Apple offers in specs and hardware elsewhere, but the Apple iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS cohesiveness is what sets Apple to succeed. The initiative and refined nature of all the operating systems to communicate with each other will always bring Apple fans back wanting more and pushing the company to do more.
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